Legislative Update: U.S. House – It’s not ALL bad

A bill, HR-35, the Safe Schools Act of 2013, that would repeal the Gun Free School Zone Act, has been introduced.

It’s short, sweet, and to the point, as it should be. Call your CongressCritters, let them know this needs to pass.

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(h/t SayUncle)

Legislative Update: US House gun bills

No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money has a good summary. Go check it out, and then start calling your legislators.

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(h/t SayUncle)

Legislative update: Gun bills in Virginia

The first wave of gun bills for Virginia’s 2013 legislative session have been introduced, and can be found here. They’re pretty much all bad, either being anti-gun or carving out exceptions for “special” groups. Here’s a quick summary.

  • HB 1326: Removes all hunter safety courses and all electronic/video/on-line courses from the list of courses that satisfy the requirements for a CHP, and requires any course taken to qualify for a CHP to specifically focus on “the use and handling of a concealed handgun”.
  • HB 1391: Prohibits the possession of weapons in legislative buildings except by any person who lawfully possesses a handgun. [So, I guess if someone wanted to kill someone in a legislative building, they would have to use a handgun instead of a rifle, shotgun, or knife. Oh, and people who can’t lawfully possess a firearm can’t carrying a handgun that they’re prohibited from having into legislative buildings.]
  • HB 1410: Expands the list of crimes that prohibit someone from possessing a gun for 5 years. [This may be redundant, as they all seem to be crimes of domestic violence, and such people are already prohibited from possessing a gun for life under federal law. It does, however, provide a process for such people to petition for a reinstatement of their gun rights at the state level.]
  • HB 1411: Deals with hoax “weapon[s] of terrorism”. [I see some potential for abuse in this one, depending on how the courts or the legislature decide to define what is a “weapon of terrorism”. I do not see any such definition, or a reference to any such definition, in this bill, so there’s nothing to stop a court from deciding that “Terrorists use AK-47s, therefore, AK-47s are weapons of terrorism, and therefore using, selling, giving, distributing, or manufacturing anything that looks like an AK-47 is a felony.]
  • SB 703: Exempts retired correctional officers from the fee for a CHP. Also contains minor linguistic changes to the CHP statute. [Other than adding another group to a special class, it appears generally harmless. The linguistic changes do not appear to change anything in the meaning of the statute.]
  • SB 785: Creates a civil liability for a victim of theft if a gun stolen from them is used in a crime resulting in injury or death and “if it can be shown by clear and convincing evidence that the firearm came into the possession of the person who committed the crime because of the failure of the civil defendant to adequately secure the firearm from theft or unauthorized possession”. [In other words, blame the victim for the actions of a criminal, in order to make gun ownership a legal risk. These laws are dangerous, because no matter how well you secure your guns, if one was stolen it was, by definition, not adequately secured from theft or unauthorized possession. Because if it was adequately secured, it couldn’t have been stolen.]
  • SB 786: A “lost or stolen” bill. Requires reporting a lost or stolen gun to police within 48 hours, and imposes a $250 “civil penalty” for failure to do so. [Again, punish a law abiding victim for the actions of a criminal, in order to make gun ownership a legal risk.]

Not one of these bills has a beneficial purpose, and most are just plain bad. HB 1326, SB 785, and SB 786 are particularly egregious to gun owners. We need to stop all of these, fast – preferably in committee. Call your state legislators, today.

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Legislative update: McCarthy Magazine ban

New York Representative Carolyn McCarthy – she of “the shoulder thing that goes up” infamy – has today introduced a bill to ban “high-capacity” magazines. The bill would ban the sale or transfer of any magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Additionally, a bill has been introduced in the New York Senate to ban “assault weapons” and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. This one has no grandfathering and mandatory surrender, and makes possession a felony.

No word yet (that I’ve seen) on Feinstein’s bill.

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(h/t SayUncle for both the McCarthy story and he New York state bill.)

Reminder: Watch Congress and your state legislature today.

Today is the start of the new legislative session, and Senator Feinstein has promised to introduce her anti-Rights “Assault Weapons Ban” today (here’s a Google search link – I’m not going to link directly to her site). Illinois is ramrodding an even worse bill through their legislature, and they already have passed it out of committee and expect to vote on it as early as tomorrow. Other states are moving or preparing to move on their own anti-Rights bills.

As I said, I won’t link to Feinstein’s page directly, but here’s a summary of what she says she’s going to introduce today, copied directly from her website:

    • Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:
      • 120 specifically-named firearms;
      • Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics; and
      • Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds.
    • Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:
      • Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test;
      • Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test; and
      • Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans.
    • Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
    • Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
      • Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment;
      • Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes; and
      • Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons.

This bill is  worse than the ’94 AWB, and it’s extremely unlikely we’ll get a sunset provision this time. I fully expect that the anti-Rights cultists will, if there is resistance to the bill as proposed, drop individual provisions until they can force something through. They will most likely try to hold out for at least the ban on all private sales, and possibly a magazine restriction as well. There are rumors – and it is important to note that they are only rumors at this point – that the Republican leadership may be willing to cave on this issue, and they may be willing to cave to Feinstein and her ilk on those points as a way of showing that they are willing to “compromise”.

I’d like to point out a couple of things based on the summary of that bill:

  1. The magazine restriction makes no mention of grandfathering, and “Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment” does not specifically include magazines.
  2. It creates an NFA registry of all grandfathered firearms, making future confiscation easier. It isn’t clear whether or not this NFA registration would require the $200 transfer tax that applies to other NFA firearms, but it is likely.
  3. It requires all owners of grandfathered firearms to be photographed and fingerprinted like common criminals.

All gun owners need to pay attention. Contact your legislators – call, write, email – and let them know that we will not tolerate passage of any part of this bill, nor will we tolerate any ban or restriction on private sales. Contact them as soon after the bill is introduced as you can – a ramrodding similar to Obamacare, or what is currently going on with the bills in Illinois, is not impossible and I would not be surprised if they tried it. If we’re not vigilant, it is entirely possible that Obama could have this ban on his desk early next week.

Call. Write. Email. Make our voices heard.

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Busy gun show

The great part about where I live is that the local gun shows are about halfway between my house and my parents. That means that Dad and I have gotten into the habit of meeting at the gun show and spending the day together. Yesterday, we met there and after we had finished wandering around the show I followed him home.

We knew that it would be crowded, and it was. Dad got there first and bought our tickets, after waiting in line for half an hour. Even with tickets in hand we had to wait in line to get in. By the time we made it in it was obvious that centerfire AR type rifles were in very short supply, and of the few that I saw the lowest price was $1250 – and while I’m no judge of AR’s, I think that one may have had something wrong with it. The next lowest was a bare bones model for $1500, that was similar to one I saw at the last show for about $800. Mini-14s were going for $850 minimum for a basic polymer stock model (Dad was irritated. He’s been thinking about selling his – an NRA edition that he paid about $600 for – and he realized he could probably have gotten a grand for it easily even before he got in the door.) The ammo tables were looking a bit anemic by 1:00, with empty pallets and most of the bins only about half full.

And while it was, as usual, full of exceedingly polite people – “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me”, and patiently waiting without a bit of shoving despite the crowding – the anger and concern were also quite palpable. This wasn’t a gun show that people were at to enjoy, it was a show that people were at because they were worried they wouldn’t get another chance. There was also a big fear that private sales will definitely be on the chopping block.

My objective was simple: some stripper clips for my Mauser. I didn’t find any of those, but I did pick up some ammo for it, along with some .45 FMJ for practice.

It was interesting, and a bit fun, but I hit my limit for crowds about halfway through (even if I did keep going). I think any anti-gun politician who wants a second term who saw that would (and should) be shaking in his boots right now.
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Gun control doesn’t work

As our “leaders” and their media figureheads bloviate about how we must pass a new “Assault Weapon” Ban now to prevent another massacre, I would just like to remind everyone about this.

AK-Shovel-Demotivator

Yes, that is a functional AK-clone, built from a shovel.

You see, the technology for manufacturing guns is centuries old. Now that the truly intelligent people have come up with the ideas of the metallic cartridge, removable magazines, and recoil or gas powered loading, anyone with half a brain and the proper tools can build a fully functional “assault weapon” – or even a real assault weapon (as I understand it, a full-auto action is actually easier to make than semi-auto).

Gun control, and especially gun bans, will always fail. Just ask anyone in the Khyber Pass.

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Quote of the Day – 2012-12-19: Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

In an interview addressing gun laws and school safety policies, Gov. McDonnell cut straight to the heart of what is critical in any discussion about what “needs to be done” as a result of the Newtown school shooting.

“The key is don’t overreact,” McDonnell said. “Don’t react solely when you’re emotional, because your policies may not be right, but really get to the bottom of what works and what can actually make a difference.”

When you legislate solely from emotion, as the anti-Rights cultists would have our government do, you usually end up with laws that make things worse, not better.

This goes hand-in-hand with the Quote of the Day at SayUncle’s.

Grieve first, then make decisions — not the other way around.

When you are grieving, and in pain, and reacting emotionally, you are not thinking rationally. You cannot see reality clearly enough and calmly enough to weigh important decisions.

I did not watch the President’s press conference today, where he formally announced his intent to push for more gun control, but others did. It sounds like he is going to push through a new Assault Weapon Ban, and that he will try and rush it through. There can be only one reason for that – he doesn’t want to give anyone time to look at it calmly and rationally, and to analyze it for flaws and Constitutional violations. I fully expect claims from Obama and Feinstein that – like the Affordable Care Act – “we have to pass it to know what’s in it.”

He wants to use… No. He wants to abuse the pain and grief of the nation – the spilled blood of murdered, innocent children – to push through restrictive laws that would not survive a calm and reasoned debate.

We gun owners are in for the legislative fight of our lives. Pay attention. Be proactive. Contact your representatives at both the state and federal levels.

Be polite, but be firm, and above all be unyielding. The Executive branch is against us. We cannot count on the Judicial branch to help us, and by the time it gets to that point it may already be too late. We must stop this at the legislative level.

There are four boxes in our system of government.

The Soap box. The Ballot box. The Jury box. The Cartridge box.

They are meant to be used in that order. We should only progress to the next box when the current one has failed.

I greatly fear that if the Soap box and the Ballot box fail, someone will push us right past the Jury box, with disastrous results.

I am terrified that the Executive and the Legislature might be willing to push hard enough to justify opening that last box.

I hope you are at least worried about this, too. There are rays of hope, here and there, but the voices raised against us now are deafening. This political battle will be critical, and none of us can afford to remain on the sidelines.

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[Source: Roanoke Times article, retrieved 12/18/12]

It’s that time again… Graphics Matter!

Linoge has Year Four of his Graphics Matter series up. And there’s a big surprise!

Anywise, as we can clearly see, firearm ownership took a marked jump around the 2008-2009 range (I wonder why?), while the total number crimes committed with firearms (CCwF) have been decreasing at various rates since 2007 and the rate of CCwF has been decreasing since 2006. Why, it is almost like the number of firearms in public circulation has absolutely no bearing on the number of crimes committed with those firearms!

Lo and behold, it does not. If we solve for the Pearson correlation coefficient for the raw numbers of firearms in circulation against the raw numbers of crimes committed with firearms, you find that ‘r’-value to be -0.45541 – a weak, negative correlation.

Then if we do what all good statisticians should do and consider rates instead of raw numbers, the rate of firearm ownership correlates to the rate of CCwF with a coefficient of -0.59906 – an arguably strong, negative correlation.

Well, okay. If you’ve been paying any attention at all, it’s not really a surprise. We see, yet again, that the anti-Rights cultists’ claims that “more guns = more crime” simply doesn’t hold up to even a simple reasoned analysis once actual evidence is taken into account.

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Why would you need a gun on the VCU campus?

Colleges and universities are sacred places of learning, and are naturally safe, right?

Not so much.

Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao today branded as “absolutely unacceptable” six robbery-related crimes on or near campus last night and said he was pressing for a meeting later today with Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones.

Six “robbery-related” crimes in one night. To be more specific, it was actually six robberies or attempted robberies in one hour.

The first robbery was reported at 7:37 p.m. at 913 W. Franklin St. A second robbery was reported about an hour later at Laurel and Cary streets.

In addition, three attempted robberies were reported – one at 8 p.m. at Grace and Foushee streets; the second at 8:30 p.m. at Laurel and Cary streets, and the third also at about 8:30 at Cary and Belvidere streets, VCU police said.

During the same time frame, a report of a man brandishing a firearm was reported at 8 p.m. at First and Grace streets.

Police said the victims were approached by an armed black male who demanded money.

Two successful robberies, three attempted robberies, and one “brandishing” that sounds a lot like an attempted robbery (but that could be bad editing on the paper’s part). From what I can tell on Google Maps, 4 of those took place on the actual campus, and the other two were within 6 blocks of campus. They took place late enough that most classes were done with, but early enough that many students might be pulling late nights studying or working in computer labs on campus, or having a late dinner.

Yet VCU continues to ban the legal carry of concealed handguns on campus – a ban that is enshrined in the state administrative code, unlike most other universities in Virginia. We see frequently how such bans are total failures at preventing crime.

We need to allow those students who would otherwise legally carry a concealed firearm to do so even when they cross the invisible line that separates “campus” from the rest of the city. The same students who can lawfully carry anywhere else – to the grocery store, to local restaurants, or just walking down the street – and do so daily with no problems.

We need to end the ban on campus carry!

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(h/t Virginia Shooting Sports Association)

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